Security Guard vs. Security Officer: What's the Difference?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 19, 2018

Jul 19, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you need a security guard or a security officer for your next project? These terms are often used together, but few people know the difference.

Most people even think they mean the same thing. Both security guards and officers strive to protect and secure. But they do so by different means.

These are two very different jobs and both require different training. Different experience is also necessary for both jobs. The differences can determine the security performance you need.

If you want to know the difference between a security guard vs security officer, continue reading and find out the difference.

Security Guard

When you see footage of celebrities or other important figures, do you see a large person hovering over them? This is likely their security guard. But security guards do more than protect important people.

Security guards are commonly hired to protect a building, such as a bank or a condo complex. They observe their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.

Security guards are also standing in tourist areas such as museums and monuments. They make sure the area is safe for tourists and answer any questions.

Security guards are more desired because they have the strength and fitness ability to handle dangerous situations. But they can't run a team or even work with a team of other security guards.

Security guards are also not affiliated with the police and they may need to contact the police in an emergency. 

Security guards can still protect different types of businesses.

Security guards are entry-level security roles. They work under a security officer, so they don't have as much experience.

Security Officer

If a security guard advances in their career, they can become security officers. These officers oversee a group of security guards. They typically manage a security company and assign roles to the different security guards.

Security officers are the ones businesses and other personnel talk to. They train new security guards and make new experienced guards are doing their job.

Experience is required for this role, which is why security guards usually advance into officers. Certain licensing also helps determine an experienced officer between an entry-level security guard.

The role itself is also different. Security officers take high-priority assignments. These require someone who can oversee a large area, often moving between different stations.

In a dangerous situation, security officers will have to call the police. But they're more experienced to handle difficult and dangerous jobs.

Now You Know the Difference Between a Security Guard vs Security Officer

Many situations call for a security officer or a security guard. But many people don't know the difference between a security guard vs security officer.

If you need one guard stationed to oversee an area, such as at a condo or a museum, a security guard is right for you. But if you need someone more experienced, hire a security officer.

Are you a security guard or a security officer looking for a new job? Search our open job listings.